Philip

My first taste of photography.

The first camera I ever laid my hands on.

 

I never knew as a child that I would be interested in photography or anything of that nature. As most kids, we all dreamt of becoming firefighters, astronauts, doctors or race-car drivers.

I still vaguely remember the first time my father let me touch his camera and let me compose my first shot on the Canon AE-1 which he had in his possession. It was during a family trip to  Ku-Ring-Gai National Park where he let me take my first family portrait using this camera which I knew nothing about, let alone know how to take a photo. I remember one instruction given to me by my father at the time which was “don’t change anything on the camera”. As curious as I was, I obviously didn’t listen, I don’t know what I had done at the time but I had touched something on the camera. Later to find out when the photos were developed, that the shot I took came out really blurry. I think that was the last time my father let me touch his camera and I didn’t blame him. To me that camera seemed like it was the most expensive thing in the world or maybe it was because of the emphasis my parents put on the camera, which made it seem more valuable then it was.

 

The Canon AE-1 is a 35 mm single-lens reflex (SLR) film camera for use with interchangeable lenses. It was manufactured by Canon Camera K. K. (today Canon Incorporated) in Japan from April 1976 to 1984. It uses an electronically controlled, electromagnet horizontal cloth focal plane shutter, with a speed range of 2 to 1/1000 second plus Bulb and flashX-sync of 1/60th second. The camera body is 87 mm tall, 141 mm wide, and 48 mm deep; it weighs 590 g. Most are black with chrome trim, but some are all black.

The AE-1 is an historically significant SLR, though not necessarily because of any major technological firsts (although it was the first microprocessor CPU-equipped SLR). Its notability is based in its sales. Backed by a major advertising campaign, the AE-1 sold five million units, an unprecedented success in the SLR market.

 

This is what I know now after looking at Wikipedia of-course. Now I understand that what I had touched was most probably the focus ring which made the photo look like you had some kind of eye issue, resulting in the need for prescription glasses.  I honestly still don’t know that much about cameras and photography, and most of what I know has been self-taught. Either through reading books or online forums. In addition, I had never been the type to sit down and read books for hours on end, and I would always skip to the pictures as they were the most important part to me. I was always the artistic type in school and did fine arts during my HSC term, then later continuing with it in a graphic design coarse in TAFE in 2003. It didn’t turn out as I had planned but it was a good learning experience for myself as I learnt there were many ways to express yourself through art, which led into my interest of photography.
It was during sometime in 2006 when I went to an automotive meet with a friend and used his pocket-sized point-and-shoot camera that I found my love in taking photos, and the next day I went out and purchased my first ever camera which was the Panasonic DMC-FZ20. At the time I thought it was a beast of a camera, where holding it caused me pains in my wrist and looking into the lens with its immense zoom capabilities let me zoom in on girls from a distance. Purchasing the camera and having my first car at the time let me go out and explore the world. I had met new friends through the automotive forums, where I would go out during the day and just take photos of the cars which I idolized to later share them online for everyone to view.

I later sold that camera after not using it much, while sitting at home and doing nothing much I felt the need to purchase another camera to feel the void which that camera had left. After much research and saving up I walked into the store and tested out many cameras within my set budget at the time and came home walking away with a Nikon D40x. It was a totally new world coming from a prosumer body into a D-SLR and I hadn’t had a clue on how to use it. The feeling of happiness and nostalgia filled my body, much like the time I had held fathers Canon for the first time. This to me was the biggest moment in my life and probably my biggest purchase ever! I took photos of my car here and there, and did shoots for my friends and family. Automotive, portraiture or just your normal everyday shots, I did them all. But like most people who purchase their first camera, they were pretty standard shots and weren’t anything to brag about, although at the time I was more than happy with them. Later on came the time to sit down and spend some time editing the images which I had took, and I remember asking people how long it took them to edit their photos, in which they replied 1-2 hours!!! Looking at my edits which only took me 5 mins to do I thought that If my edits took me that amount of time to finish they were obviously no good. I went and hit the books, looked at images and dissected them to see where I could learn and improve on my photography to the point where I was fairly happy with everything at the time. Gaining praise from fellow friends and from people who I didn’t know made me feel happy and satisfied that I could share something with them and that’s what mattered most to me at the time. Capturing that decisive moment to go back and view forever is something words can’t describe. They say a picture says a thousand words and I believe that there’s some truth in that.

After purchasing my third body a Nikon D90 to satisfy my need for off-camera lighting as the Nikon D40 was very limited in terms of features even though It produced amazing shots. I took a step into the movement of strobing. It was the craze back then in 2008 and everyone was doing it! so I thought what the heck and jumped on the bandwagon to see what everyone was talking about. During the time I had owned the D90 it had taught me a lot about photography. Only armed with a D90 an SB-800 and two SB-600’s I went out and did what most people did which was to take photos of cars in dreamy sunsets with my flashes, to come home and spend hours blending together layers upon layers of images, where a 8MB image would end up being 30-40MB with all that post processing. After hundreds of dollars later spent on Lithium-Ion batteries and after countless shoots for friends and clients, I started to lose the motivation in shooting with flashes and they sat at home collecting dust for the remaining period til this day, as the cost of running them proved to high for me in the end.

In 2009 I went on a family trip to Laos only bringing along my trust D90, I managed to capture some amazing shots which I look back on and reminisce from time to time. I don’t know what it was but the simple notion of just going out and taking photos of whatever sparked my interest amazed me the most, as opposed to setting up strobes and flashes for hours on end and taking shots of still subjects. Something about spontaneous shots fired off like a machine gun from the D90’s 4.5fps made me the most happiest guy on the earth. Now days I shoot with a Nikon D700 and I love it to bits!!! And even though it’s a little old and doesn’t have the pixel count to compete with the newer cameras today I can’t complain and it has done everything I’ve wanted and more. I’ll end it here and come back later with more, as it’s time to go out and grab some dinner with friends and family.

Thanks for reading if you did and enjoy your weekend everyone! 😀